Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top Ten Phil Jackson Quotes

Who says these are the top ten? I do. What makes me an authority? Nothing in particular, I am simply a lifelong Lakers fan. Sure, others have compiled their lists but that doesn't mean I can't. These are my ten favorite, in no particular order. For me, they capture the essence of Phil Jackson. Always profound, sarcastic, and even esoteric; he’s certainly a colorful character.

I’m quite happy to have him as the Lakers coach. I was fortunate to be at the preseason game when he made his return to Los Angeles. Talk about a standing ovation! I don’t remember who won or who they even played, I just remember that Phil was back and a popular UCLA running back was sitting a few seats over. Some knucklehead in the row before me was forcibly yelling loudly with approval every time the Laker Girls would come out also. What made it really odd was the fact that he had an attractive girl with him. I guess some people like attention. Oh yeah, and it was Chick Hearn night. They gave fans a yellow stuffed bear that says “Lakers” on the front and “I (heart) Chick” on the back. The man in the seat next to me went around the stadium and got every extra one that he could find. By the end of the night he had two bags full of them. It was a bit creepy.

At any rate – here are my favorite quotes that are attributed to the Zen Master

1. If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.

2. I gave it my body and mind, but I have kept my soul.

3. In basketball -- as in life -- true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.

4. Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.

5. Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.

6. Approach the game with no preset agendas and you'll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.

7. I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you're doing. You have to be a salesman and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you're trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.

8. You can not teach competitiveness.

9. Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I'm doing.

10. The ideal way to win a championship is step by step.

Tonight the Lakers are back in Boston for Game Six. For all of you that are still sending me emails and writing on my ESPN fan page – I get it. You’re a Celtics fan. Bully for you. Talking trash to a stranger does not help your team. Just because I don't make wild boasts and statements doesn't mean that I'm happy to hear yours. Again, I’ll somehow console myself if the Lakers don’t pull it out come January and February when I am going to the Staples Center in a light jacket while you’re shoveling snow to try to make it to your game. Enjoy.


Lindsay said...

I like those quotes, especially No. 8, "You can't teach competitiveness." I'll be watching the game tonight. Can't wait!

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yeah - it was part of a larger tirade about working with successful players. I had a hard time narrowing down my picks to only ten since so many great Philisms exist.